One glue, (almost) all purposes

All-purpose glue: One glue to bind them all?

The term “all-purpose glues” implies you can use them for any project you like. While these multi-purpose glues are indeed suited for a wide range of applications, no one product is perfect for every single DIY job out there. This guide tells you what you need to know so you can choose and use the right universal glue for your projects.

All-purpose glue properties and applications

The clear advantage of buying all-purpose glues is that they can be used for so many applications. Some all-purpose adhesives are even capable of jobs ranging from repairing small household goods to constructing industrial-sized objects like wind turbines and ship decks.

Nonetheless, not all universal glues are created equally. Read the fine print in the product details to make sure the general-purpose glue you’ve selected really is the best all-purpose glue for your project.

For example, here is are some of the great features you can expect from Loctite Extreme Glue:

  • a true all-purpose glue
  • suitable for a variety of repair, craft, and building jobs
  • dries clear for invisible repairs
  • sets quickly
  • no need to wrestle with clamps and foam, as is the case with some other glues
  • durable, non-foaming formula is compatible with many porous and non-porous materials

However, this universal glue is not suitable for use on polyethylene or for water immersion.

If you need an all-purpose glue that sets incredibly quickly and bonds to a wide range of common materials, reach for Loctite’s 60 Sec. Universal Glue. Here are some more of its great properties:

  • non-drip gel formula
  • flexible and water-resistant all-purpose glue
  • can be repositioned for up to 40 seconds
  • can be applied on vertical or overhead surfaces

However, this all-purpose glue is not suitable for use on wet surfaces, for bonding some materials like polyethylene, or for long-term water immersion. Also note that you should not use it to bond assemblies containing gaps or hot liquids.

Directions: How to use all-purpose adhesives

Always keep safety in mind when working. Wear gloves, wash your hands, protect your work area, and use your general-purpose glue in a well-ventilated area.

  • Prepare your surfaces. The surfaces you want to bond must be sound, dry, and clean. Remove any residue and contaminants with a solvent like alcohol or acetone after you have tested the solvent’s compatibility with your substrate. Lightly sand any glossy or very smooth surfaces to improve adhesion. If necessary, mask off adjacent areas with tape before applying glue. If you are bonding two non-porous surfaces, you may need to dampen them slightly before applying universal adhesive (consult the product instructions).
  • Pre-fit your pieces. Pre-fit all materials before applying your all-purpose glue to make sure your pieces align properly.
  • Apply the all-purpose adhesive glue. Open your all-purpose adhesive and apply a thin layer to one surface. Hold or clamp the parts in place before skin formation for the length of time stated in the product instructions. Allow your multi-purpose adhesive to cure completely before subjecting it to stress.

The amount of all-purpose glue you need depends not only on the size of the object you are dealing with but also on your substrate’s porosity. Generally speaking, the more porous your substrate, the more adhesive you require. You may also need to apply universal glue to both surfaces.

Clean-up. Close your all-purpose glue tube/container immediately after you have finished working. Then clean your tools and any adhesive residue using the proper solvent (alcohol, acetone, or cleaner’s naptha). You can carefully cut away cured multi-purpose glue using a sharp-edged tool.

Storage. Store your all-purpose glue in a dry, cool place with little humidity and no frost. The manufacturer’s instructions will tell you anything else you need to note.